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Baseball Daily Dose

Sandy is Dandy

by Ryan Boyer
Updated On: September 14, 2021, 12:16 pm ET

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The season hasn’t gone as hoped for the Marlins, but one thing that’s gone very right for them is Sandy Alcantara.

One start after striking out a career-high 14 batters in a complete game against the Mets, Alcantara carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and a no-hitter into the seventh inning Monday versus the Nationals. He finished the night with eight shutout frames in the Marlins’ 3-0 victory.

In his last seven outings, Alcantara has put up a microscopic 1.55 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 64/7 K/BB ratio over 52 1/3 innings. The start before that streak was a 3 2/3-inning, 10-run disaster at Coors Field. If you take out that stinker at high altitude, Alcantara would hold a 2.67 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 184/46 K/BB rate over 185 innings this season. Even as is, those numbers are a still-excellent 3.10 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 185/48 K/BB rate in 188 2/3 frames.

The scary thing with Alcantara is that he just seems to be getting better and better. His strikeout rate has steadily improved each year to a career-best 24.3 percent in 2021. Same for his walk rate, which sits at a career-low 6.3 percent. He’s also throwing harder than he ever has (and the hardest of any starter in baseball) and is getting ground balls at a career-high rate.

Alcantara’s next opponent as he tries to keep rolling? That would be the Pirates, the lowest-scoring team in baseball.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Alek Manoah vs. TB – 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 10 K

Manoah put together a masterful performance on Monday at Rogers Centre. Facing the league’s highest-scoring offense, the right-hander gave up a two-out single to Joey Wendle in the fifth inning and hit Wendle with a pitch with one out in the eighth. That was it, as the Rays didn’t reach second base all night against the rookie. It’s the third double-digit strikeout game for Manoah, who lowered his ERA to 3.39.

Adam Wainwright vs. NYM – 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K

Wainwright on Monday in New York was arguably the least sharp he’s been in a while, but he still managed to navigate his way through six shutout innings in the Cardinals’ win over the Mets. The 40-year-old right-hander now boasts a 2.02 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 68/15 K/BB ratio over 84 2/3 innings covering 12 starts since the All-Star break, lowering his overall ERA on the year down to 2.88.

Logan Gilbert vs. BOS – 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 9 K

Gilbert posted arguably his best start in over a month on Monday in a game with American League Wild Card implications. His nine strikeouts tied a career high, and his six innings represented his longest start since August 10. Gilbert received a no-decision and still hasn’t picked up a win since July.

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Hitters with an EDGE

Teoscar Hernandez vs. TB – 5-for-5, 2B, 2 R

Hernandez came into action Monday with home runs in back-to-back tilts. That streak came to an end, but instead he posted his first career five-hit game as the Blue Jays continued to steamroll their competition in a win over the Rays. Hernandez is now an utterly absurd 15-for-24 over his last six games, and he’s hit five dingers in 13 contests this month.

Yordan Alvarez vs. TEX – 2-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R

Alvarez reached the 30-homer mark on Monday in Texas, slugging a two-run shot and a solo blast in the Astros’ blowout win over the Rangers. He also reached on a walk and wound up scoring a career-high-tying four runs. Alvarez, by the way, could start seeing some action at first base soon, manager Dusty Baker said prior to the game.

Jose Siri vs. TEX – 4-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R

Alvarez wasn’t the only Astro to have a two-homer night against the Rangers, as Siri popped the first two long balls of his major league career on Monday. The 26-year-old former top prospect is finally getting a chance at the big league level after having a nice season at Triple-A Sugar Land.

Miguel Sano vs. NYY – 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI

Sano clubbed one of three home runs for the Twins on Monday in an extra-innings loss to the Yankees. Ten of Sano’s 27 home runs this season have come since August 1, including four over his last nine contests. He has a good shot to reach the 30-homer plateau for the second time in his seven-year career.

Priority Pickup

Andrew Benintendi, OF, Royals – available in 50 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues

It’s been an uneven first season for Benintendi in Kansas City, as he sports a mediocre .743 OPS and OPS+ of 100. He’s been cooking lately, though, putting up a ridiculous 1.567 OPS with three home runs and a whopping 13 RBI over his last five games. Benintendi has been parked in the cleanup spot for the Royals of late, which should continue to present some RBI opportunities.

Closing Time

Dylan Floro pitched around a single to close out the Marlins’ 3-0 win over the Nationals on Monday. He and Anthony Bender initially were sharing the team’s closer role upon the trade of Yimi Garcia, but Floro has now notched each of the last seven saves for the Marlins. Bender has rebounded of late after a rough stretch in August but is clearly below Floro on the saves totem pole.

Drew Steckenrider struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the Mariners’ 5-4 win over the Red Sox. It came after Paul Sewald served up back-to-back solo home runs in the eighth. The two relievers continue to share the closer job for Seattle.

Tuesday’s Matchup of the Day

Triston McKenzie (CLE) vs. Joe Ryan (MIN)

This matchup should be surrounded by fire emojis. McKenzie has turned around his season in a major way of late, putting up a sparkling 1.80 ERA, 0.53 WHIP and 41/4 K/BB ratio over 40 innings covering six starts since the beginning of August. As for Ryan, he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning against these very Indians his last time out. It promises to be a pitcher’s duel in the first game of a doubleheader.

 

American League Quick Hits: Mitch Haniger went 4-for-4 with a tiebreaking three-run homer Monday versus the Red Sox … Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Monday that there's a "good chance" Chris Sale (COVID-19) will return this weekend versus the Orioles … Vladimir Guerrero Jr. clubbed his league-leading 45th home run on Monday versus the Rays … Jake Odorizzi was removed from a start Monday versus the Rangers with a sore right foot … Byron Buxton went deep and reached base three times against the Yankees on Monday … Brandon Lowe sat out a second straight game Monday because his “legs are beat up,” per Rays manager Kevin CashGleyber Torres was moved to second base Monday and is expected to remain there down the stretch, with Gio Urshela playing shortstop.

National League Quick Hits: Clayton Kershaw struck out five over 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball versus the Diamondbacks in his return Monday … Chris Taylor (neck) won’t return until at least Wednesday and might wind up on the injured list … Blake Snell (groin) woke up Monday more sore than expected but is still hoping to start this weekend … The Padres lost another starter when they placed Chris Paddack on the IL Monday with elbow inflammation … Jack Flaherty (shoulder) will throw a bullpen session on Thursday … Paolo Espino tossed six innings of one-run ball but was saddled with a loss against the Marlins … Paul Goldschmidt homered and reached base three times Monday against the Mets … Justin Turner went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI Monday against the Diamondbacks.

Ryan Boyer

Ryan Boyer is a baseball writer for NBC Sports Edge. He can also be found on Twitter.